Would understanding learning styles help you teach your children? 15


Back in the days when I was building my career I went to many courses that gave me all the tools and knowledge I needed in how to train a team of people. Working as a manager for a branded pub/restaurant you constantly have to train, retrain and refresh your team. So understanding how people respond to training and what techniques you can implement to get the best results are an incredibly important part of the job role.

After deciding to become a stay at home mum whilst pregnant with my third baby, those days are well and truly behind me.

Or are they?

Learning Styles

I have been putting a lot of pressure on myself recently to up my game as a mother. Hayden, my eldest is most likely on the autistic spectrum so is behind in many aspects of developmental progress, especially surrounding speech, language and social interaction. This also, in turn means Ellis (middle boy) has had a few issues when it comes to speech and social development. So much so, we are now being referred to speech and language therapists. Something, like most parents, I can’t help but blame myself for. Even though for the majority, these things are out of my control.

I have been really racking my brains recently on how I can best engage and interact with my children for them to learn effectively. And I keep coming up with the usual things; play, books, puzzles, activities, experiences and so on. Of course all of them will work with time but ultimately I’m just guessing these tools, situations and experiences will teach my children in the way I hope it will. Whereas actually I could be much more equipped if I understood how they learn best.

What if I was to explore and implement the type of things I had learnt whilst I was progressing my career? It would need adapting, but surely exploring that thought wouldn’t do any harm?

One of the first things I learnt was that people all have a preferred learning style.

So I thought I would share my knowledge. Maybe it could help you?! Maybe understanding how different people learn will help you identify your own children’s learning style. Giving them that all important first step in life!

‘Learning style’ is basically a term used to describe how a person best takes in and interprets information. Everyone learns slightly differently depending on what engages their brain the best. There are many different breakdowns, theories and interpretations out there but fundamentally it comes down to three main styles; Visual, Auditory & Kinaesthetic.

Learning styles

 

A visual learner takes in more with visual stimulation, such as picture books, and images. An auditory learner will absorb more information from sounds, such as the spoken word. A kinaesthetic learner is someone that prefers to ‘do’ things and learn through physically having a go at things themselves.

It would be quite easy for us, as parents to assume most of our children are kinaesthetic learners, as most toddlers appear to learn through play and experience. But do they? If you really watch your child whilst they are learning and playing you may notice some other habits they have that point you in a different direction.

So how can you tell which style your child may prefer?

A visual learner will:

  • Intently watch their teacher/parent whilst being taught.
  • Will take great enjoyment out of picture books, displays and visual aids
  • Will prefer to share their learning through pictures
  • Will recognise things by sight rather than sound.

An auditory learner will:

  • Will prefer a verbal explanation
  • Will prefer discussion and conversation over solitary learning
  • Will enjoy group work
  • It is also quite common for an auditory learner to enjoy teaching others

A kinaesthetic learner will:

  • Need to keep their hands and/or body busy. They generally find it hard to sit still.
  • Will prefer practical hands on activity
  • Takes great enjoyment out of physical activity
  • Will use movement as memory aids

 

Of course there is some crossover. For example; I am a kinaesthetic learner. I learn best by ‘doing’, but when I was revising for my GCSE’s (all those years ago) I listened to music whilst I was doing it. When it came to the exams, if I came across something I struggled with, I would remember the song or album I was listening to rather than the actual subject. That would then allow my brain to access the information I was taking in at the time. So there is also an element of auditory learning in there too.

 

How can understanding these elements help you teach you children?

When planning activities and games with them, think about what they enjoy most. Do they get a lot out of visual stimulation? Think about books you can buy or rent from the library. Would lots of drawing and writing activities stimulate their brain further? Do they prefer to listen? Maybe you could look introduce nursery rhymes and musical instruments into your play. Do they prefer ‘doing’ things? Explore the woods, the beach, or the local nature reserve. Get them out in the garden with water and sand. Think of activities and games that are filled with movement.

Learning Styles

 

All of these things are still using play and experience, but using the right technique could mean your child is taking in so much more than you realise!

Have you identified your child’s learning style? What do you do to stimulate their little minds?

 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

 

The Twinkle Diaries
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday


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15 thoughts on “Would understanding learning styles help you teach your children?

  • Charlotte

    It’s funny you should post this! because my brother has just been assessed because he is struggling in school and they were mentioning kinaesthetic, auditory and I didn’t really understand what they were talking about so this was really helpful thank you x #KCACOLS

  • Sarah - Arthurwears

    Hello! I know I have already commented on this the last time you linked up – but your post is before mine so I’m back! I don’t have much more to add except I’m glad i came back because I now see that you left a reply to my original comment! Xxx merry Xmas to you xx #KCACOLS

  • Mummy and the Mexicans

    Interesting post, and something I hadn’t really thought about in relation to my daughter, although she’s probably too young to tell which learning style she might prefer. I think encouraging all learning styles would be a good idea to start with! #KCACOLS

  • Lex

    Love this post. Before motherhood I worked within a nursery so I know important it is to know a child’s learning preference to help support them. My little one is only 10 months so I have yet to identify her, but I think she is visual/kinaesthetic. But most young children are until they are more aware of themselves and environment. It’s great you’ve transferred your career skills and applied them here 🙂 #KCAKOLS

  • The Speed Bump

    I’m so interested by learning styles. I’m definitely a kinaesthetic learner; I need to try something for myself to understand it. I think SB is going to be similar; she loves copying and getting stuck in with things! Great post #KCACOLS

    • Sons, Sand & Sauvignon Post author

      Thanks Jenny! Most people are a mixture, but sometimes they absorb certain things better in certain ways. As Sarah said, it is all about a variety, but understanding it could help many parents in a home environment I think. xx

  • arthurwears

    I’m totally with you on this one Clare. As a Primary Teacher this is something we were trained on at University whilst doing my PGCE and I remember thinking that there are so many things that we should just give as information to any parent, not just for Teachers! Having said that, although we may have a preferred learning style, research and experience has shown me that we all learn best if we are taught something using a mixture of all of the learning styles rather than just focusing on one and I really do think that is the key. It is much easier to implement in an Early Years classroom where you can incorporate visual stimulations with things like action songs and rhymes plus actual real life materials to ‘do’ things with. What really surprises me is that teachers, trainers, universities etc know all of this, and yet university students are still made to sit in a lecture theatre listening to someone talk whilst they make notes. crazy! #KCACOLS

    • Sons, Sand & Sauvignon Post author

      Thanks lovely! I agree, using a range of techniques is best. But for so long I really struggled to ‘teach’ Ellis anything. Once I realised he was a visual learner I have been able to teach him so much more, now he has a wider understanding, I can use other techniques as well. And of course his pre school will be using a variety of techniques too. I think it would help if parents had this information available to them, for me remembering what I had learnt previously helped me start Ellis’ education path at home effectively. xx

  • Caro | The Twinkles Mama

    What a fab, informative post lovely! I think I’d subconsciously realised that there *was* such a thing as a ‘learning style’ because my twins learn in such different ways but I didn’t know there was an actual name for it!! Now I totally get why my boys are so different in their approach to learning! Thanks for sharing and thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday — hope to see you again next week! x

    Caro | http://www.thetwinklediaries.co.uk

  • Zoe dunn

    Great post I totally agree everyone learns differently and this is something to think about with children especially if you have more than one child as they are most likely like chalk and cheese (my 3 definitely are!). I think it’s also important to be kind to yourself. You put at the start that you partly blame yourself and need to up your game as a mother. Be kind to yourself and don’t pressurise yourself too much. Take time to congratulate yourself on the amazing family you have helped create as well as the fact that you are managing a household and doing brilliantly by the sounds of things. Motherhood is a marathon and your doing brilliant!